The trip to NAMM this year was packed! I thought I’d write a post of some things that personally caught my eye in a head-scratching way. My francophone counterpart, Marc-Andre and I walked dozens of kilometers over the past four days. 

Here’s a few of the things that made me go hmmm…

White is the New Black

A few of the vendors we came across showed us models of their gear with the option to choose white as the finish colour: 


KRK Rokit Series Monitors

Audio Technica M50 Series Headphones

Yamaha HS Series Studio Monitors

Moog’s Theremini

That Weathered Look

You’ve seen it before, all of those big-name artists who have had that one instrument all their life. It looks like it’s been through a war, but they still play it and love it. You don’t really have to do that pesky long music career thing to get your gear to look like that. You can buy a new axe that the manufacturer has wrecked (sorry, broken-in) for you!

Yamaha’s Billy Sheehan (Steve Vai, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big) Bass 

ESP’s Kirk Hammett (Metallica) Guitar


From the Fender Custom Shop

Retro is New Again

When I was getting interested in synths, streamlining keyboard control panels was all the rage. The dawn of digital allowed synths to pack more features in a streamlined packaging.

It’s almost 30 years later and I’ve seen the age of streamlining disappear as more keyboards come out with more knobs and … patch cabling. “Modern” modular synthesizers (synths that have distinct – sometimes physically seperate – modules) aren’t really new to the market, but I saw quite a few products re-introducing CV (control voltage) patching in their products. CV was an analog method of synchronizing electronic devices and was supposedly made obsolete (or at least unnecessary) by MIDI. It came back in software form as a fun throw-back nod to ’70’s analog synths when Propellerheads’ REASON product first hit the market a decade ago, but now it’s manifested itself in the physical world again – with vigor!

Korg’s MS-20 – sold as a DIY Kit

Arturia’s Microbrute

A configuration of the Buchla modular system

Just Plain Weird…

To close out this post, a few things I saw that were just plain … odd.

24-String Pratt Bass – Can’t imagine how to play this thing…

Drum Kit at the Crush booth – don’t think that’s fitting in the studio.

PianoArc – Don’t know if it’s the most practical, but the question is: Would Rick Wakeman play it?

Dave Chick
I'm a film / TV composer based in Vancouver BC. Music has always been part of my life, but my first career was in the technology industry as a consultant and project manager. I helped to build and open the Experience Music Project – a rock and roll museum in Seattle. I hold a Bachelor of Music from the University of Western Ontario and a Master of Business Administration degree from McMaster University. I also hold a diploma in Audio Engineering from the University of Washington and I’m a graduate of Hummie Mann’s acclaimed Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program.